Political Economy

Module code: ECON 3539

Module description

The module will present an analysis of political processes from the perspective of economic theory. The economic ideas of rational choice, constrained optimisation, strategic behaviour and market equilibrium are used to explain the behaviour of voters, politicians and interest groups in the determination of political theory.

The economic methodology will largely be from a micro-economic perspective. The topics discussed will include models of electoral competition, an analysis of policy preferences and the "paradox of voting", models of redistributive and special interest politics, amongst others.

The module will be up to date in terms of both the current direction of research in this field, and in applying the models discussed to explain contemporary events.

Students will also develop their skills in essay writing and in making arguments generally skills so as to present their thoughts on these issues in a clear manner. They will learn to appreciate the evidence for and against the various theories considered and how to weigh this evidence up.

Contact hours per student per year

  • Lectures: 20 hours
  • Tutorials: 22 hours


  • Exam (60 mins): 50%
  • 1500-word essay: 50%

Additional costs: No extra costs other than purchase of books